For an era that seems to worship independence, it sure does seem to frown upon being alone. In an age where "Ms. Independent" is celebrated for having her own career and living life on her own terms, god forbid she be seen out in a little black dress at an uber-trendy bistro having dinner by herself. In our world, there are certain types of activities that are deemed by the bulk of society to be more appropriately achieved along side others. As a singleton, it is easy to look around and feel that the world appears to be made for pairs and groups, but there is something to be said about spending time in your own company. Alone time allows us to re-coup from daily life and re-focus. It helps us hone our self-regulation skills, allowing for increased personal growth, resiliency, and self-satisfaction. Being ok with being alone can also be a very attractive quality, giving off a sense of confidence and approachability. In the end, we have to rely on and be happy with ourselves more than anyone, and thus, if we are to truly achieve inner peace, we must learn how to overcome the uncomfortableness of these activities when there is no plus one in sight. So, I got to thinking, what are some of the tasks that singletons typically have trouble doing alone?
5 Solo Milestones for Today's Singleton
Table for one- So this one time, my friend overslept and accidentally stood me up for brunch. As I explained to the waiter that my guest was in fact not coming, I made an executive decision to stay and enjoy a meal all by myself. And it was really nice! I sat by a sunny window dining on the delectable eggs that sat in front of me, kept company only by the passersby out and about on the gorgeous spring day. People are often wary of dining alone because of fears that those around them are judging. But does living life to please everyone else's expectations bode well? Usually not. I recommend embarking on this task by doing brunch or dinner, because most of us end up eating lunch solo and on the fly anyway...so that one's too easy. Go out and enjoy a nice meal with yourself and challenge yourself to do it when meals tend to be traditionally more social. And why not don a little black dress while you're at it. Oh, and no cellphones. No cheating!
Vacationing solo- While it can be nice to have someone to immediately enjoy the amenities of vacation with, everyone should try it out solo at least once. You don't have to worry about adjusting your agenda or your wallet to anyone else's, and you are more likely to meet new people and become immersed in a different culture. Traveling alone is a rich experience that will teach you amazing things about yourself and your ability to adapt and enjoy the little things that are often glossed over when you have to worry about someone else's perceptions.
Treat yourself to a drink- One of the first things I made myself do when I moved to New York and knew no one, was to go out alone. It was something I never contemplated doing before, because I never had to, so I spent about an hour negotiating with myself on why I should bite the bullet and do it. I will always be proud that I did that and grateful because since then I have had multiple experiences alone at bars, whether it be on my own accord or from waiting for tardy guests to arrive. One becomes very comfortable in this situation if you see it as an opportunity for some great people watching and also a way to challenge your own comfort levels. I am not advocating going out and getting wasted by yourself. Be smart about it. I am saying that putting yourself out there will enhance your can-do attitude and actually sharpen your interpersonal skills. I've found that these attempts at being comfortable solo have often upped my approachability factor, thus paving the way to unexpected new friendships. And remember, no cell phones allowed ;)
Be (really)alone at home- Being "alone" is not what it used to be. We are hyper-connected, and as a consequence becoming disconnected from ourselves. How often do you spend time at home truly alone and disconnected from others. These days it is rare. We sit at home and make comments on Facebook and Twitter, watch television, and look for other connections to the outside world and, as a consequence, avoid spending quality time with ourselves. These distractions are a part of life, but not necessary all the time. Make a point each day to spend some time without these things and in your own company. People often tell me "...but if I do that I won't be able to stop thinking about everything going on in my life." and I say "Good!" Maybe these things need to be contemplated and if nothing else, you can start learning how to rely on yourself (rather than devices) to turn off the thoughts.
Be single-For those of you out there that leap frog from relationship to relationship, this one's for you. Yes, there are some out there who have never really experienced being single in their adult life. Being single for at least a year can teach you a lot about yourself, and enhance your happiness. Everyone at some point should experience life on their own terms without having to consult with or consider someone else. We have plenty of time for that, what with marriage and parenthood and all. Also, going from one partner to the next makes it more difficult to heal from relationships past, which can lead to toting along an army of baggage into the next relationship. Do yourself a favor and take some time out to enjoy the single you. If you feel that you need someone else to solidify happiness, then that is even more reason to force yourself to be single for awhile and work on being content with yourself without a plus one.
How many of these milestones have you conquered? Is it time to start exploring your solo self a little more? Well, turn off the computer and hop to it!
Check out my blog at www.psychandthesinglegirl.com